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View Full Version : Quest for the perfect turkey breast, please add your thoughts


dwfisk
10-13-2015, 09:17 AM
I'll confess, I really like smoked turkey and will typically use it when I'm trying to figure out if a new (to me) BBQ joint is legit. Chris Lilly at Big Bob Gibson's is (so far) my personal gold standard; Arron Franklin knocks out a really good one and actually goes into his typically simple precess in his new book; and, I recently had an opportunity to have some of fellow Brethren ShencoSmoke's turkey at his newly opened 1752 BBQ - really good, moist & tender. All of these and many more I've tried at other spots are just breast (white meat).

So, my new personal smoking challenge (partly coming from my wife) is to be able to knock out really good turkey breast (I'll continue to do an occasional whole bird but my real interest right now is to perfect/get better at just the breast).

I just prepped 2@4 pound bone in fresh turkey breasts (not injected), removed the skin, trimmed a little and have them soaking in Oakridge Game Changer brine; plan is to soak for 24 hours and smoke tomorrow afternoon ala ShencoSmoke and Franklin's style (pictures & details to come).

Anybody care to weigh in what you do to knock out really good turkey breast?

What do you start with (i.e., did not want to start with a processed & injected white meaat roast/roll, but I know some folks do).

Do you brine? With what?

What kind of rubs do you like?

Really interested in what y'all can offer. Thanks in advance.

qman
10-13-2015, 10:43 AM
I will start by saying I would never start with anything but a whole, bone-in breast, not enhanced. I prefer fresh, never frozen--but that is very hard to get around her except during the holidays.

Fwismoker
10-13-2015, 10:50 AM
Dave IMO the best thing you can ever do for both chicken and turkey breast is to order a jaccard. A couple 3 passes around with the jacfard then i'll brine. The brine only needs to be for 2-3 hours.

I use a simple brine of 1 gallon water, 1 cup kosher salt, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 white sugar, add aromatics if you like.

Even on breasts i like a higher cooking temp of 300-400* because it cooks fast and retains the moisture with no chance to dry out over a longer cook.

Amazon.com: Jaccard Supertendermatic 48-Blade Tenderizer: Meat Tenderizer: Kitchen & Dining@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41Qd2KvZMLL.@@AMEPARAM@@41Qd2KvZMLL

LostArrow
10-13-2015, 10:57 AM
Simple brine overnite .
1 gal water , 1 cup sugar, 1 cup Kosher salt.
I melt 1/2 lb butter, mix with 1 tbs Tony's & inject & rub on skin.

Bludawg
10-13-2015, 10:59 AM
Be it a Whole bird or a Breast plate I do them the same way. Skin is important it's the heat shield & contains fat to aid in self basting and when cooked right is dang tasty, so it stays. I found this recipe some years ago in Epicourious .com it make the best bird I ever ate and graces the table at Thanks giving the family loves it so much I have to do the turkey every year no matter where we are having dinner.

Salt-Roasted Turkey with Lemon and Oregano
https://www.evernote.com/shard/s124/res/f681530b-69b8-46cf-9ab1-a94a908f2b74.jpg


For salt rub:

1/3 cup coarse kosher salt (preferably Diamond Crystal brand)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or 1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon peel
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon ground black pepper


Mix all ingredients in small bowl.
Stock:


3 lemons corsley chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
1 onion
2 tbl chopped fresh oregano
2 tsp chopped fresh tyme
2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil divided
6 tbl fresh lemon juice
31.5-4 cups low sodium chicken stock

For turkey:
Rinse turkey. Pull out metal insert that holds legs and remove fat pads from neck and main cavities. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons salt rub inside cavities. Slide bird into turkey-size oven bag. Sprinkle remaining salt rub over bird. Close bag; place on rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate turkey 18 to 24 hours.
To roast turkey:
Set rack at lowest position in oven and preheat to 350F. Place rack in large roasting pan. Rinse turkey; pat dry. Combine lemons, next 6 ingredients, 1/4 cup oil, and 3 tablespoons lemon juice in large bowl; spoon into main cavity. Whisk remaining oil and lemon juice in small bowl. Tuck wing tips under; tie legs loosely. Place turkey on rack; brush with some lemon oil.
Pour 2 cups stock into roasting pan. Roast turkey 1 hour. Brush all over with remaining lemon oil. Roast turkey 45 minutes; pour 1 cup stock into pan. Roast 45 minutes; add 1/2 cup to 11/2 cups stock to pan to maintain liquid level. Turn pan around. Roast until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165F, about 45 minutes longer. Transfer turkey to platter; reserve pan with juices. Tent turkey loosely with foil; let rest 30 to 45 minutes (internal temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees).

Shagdog
10-13-2015, 11:08 AM
We love this brine for our Thanksgiving bird. I will often stuff the cavity with some oranges, apples onions Sage etc too. Rub is usually pretty simple, since its mostly just flavoring the skin anyway.. Spog, sage a little thyme maybe..

2 quarts apple cider
1 lb brown sugar
3/4 cup Kosher salt
3 quarts cold water
3 oranges quartered
4 oz ginger - thin sliced
15 cloves
6 bay leaves
6 garlic cloves

Combine Cider, Sugar and salt. Bring to a boil stirring to dissolve. Remove from heat and then bring solution back down to 40 degrees

Add everything together in a bucket or briner or whatever. Squeeze the oranges as you quarter them. I would give it a solid 24 hours or longer in the brine. Then pull out, rinse, pat dry, then let sit, uncovered in the fridge for 12 hours to dry the skin.

This will do up to an 8-12lb bird or breast..

dwfisk
10-13-2015, 06:17 PM
Dave IMO the best thing you can ever do for both chicken and turkey breast is to order a jaccard. A couple 3 passes around with the jacfard then i'll brine.

Thanks, I already have one or two, but never used them on chicken/turkey.

landarc
10-13-2015, 06:25 PM
I like to wrap the bird in two layers of aluminum foil, then pour some water into the foil, seal it up, maybe add some lemon slices, and place on the kettle for 3 hours at 400F, this prevents any smoke from fouling the turkey and assures it will be tender, I mean, falled off the bone tender, and moist, as in wet.

Yessir...no wait, that's my nightmare

PatAttack
10-13-2015, 06:26 PM
I like to wrap the bird in two layers of aluminum foil, then pour some water into the foil, seal it up, maybe add some lemon slices, and place on the kettle for 3 hours at 400F, this prevents any smoke from fouling the turkey and assures it will be tender, I mean, falled off the bone tender, and moist, as in wet.

Yessir...no wait, that's my nightmare

:laugh: :laugh:

Bob, I think it needs to be pressure cooked.

Sorry for hijack, OP.:icon_blush:

dwfisk
10-15-2015, 06:34 PM
Two 4 pound bone-in breasts, pulled the skin off and soaked in Oakridge Game Changer Brine for about 30 hours, rinsed well, coated with Oakridge Game Bird & Chicken rub and into the fridge for 8 hours to air dry. Fired up my custom compact RF with lump and pecan wood chunks. Several folks suggest wrapping in foil after hitting an IT of 140* but I decided to pan each breast on a rack with about a cup of apple juice instead.

http://i1311.photobucket.com/albums/s661/dwf703/2015-10-15%2013.57.15_zpse7xhf3ht.jpg

http://i1311.photobucket.com/albums/s661/dwf703/2015-10-15%2013.58.11_zpsicsbllvr.jpg

http://i1311.photobucket.com/albums/s661/dwf703/2015-10-15%2014.00.50_zpsnifktepi.jpg

Cooked about 2-1/2 hours at 265*-290* to an IT of 140*then slathered with a butter & rub mixture and covered with foil for another hour until they hit 165* then rested under foil for 45 minutes. Wound up with 2 of these, probably 3-1/2 pounds of meat each:

http://i1311.photobucket.com/albums/s661/dwf703/2015-10-15%2018.29.41_zpsllxflxe1.jpg

De-boned and carved each breast against the grain:

http://i1311.photobucket.com/albums/s661/dwf703/2015-10-15%2018.38.22_zpszygvmfbb.jpg

Plated with sweet potatoes and green beans. Reserved the liquid out of the foil pans (apple juice, drippings & butter) to add to the plate.

http://i1311.photobucket.com/albums/s661/dwf703/2015-10-15%2018.44.06_zpsnsfwhama.jpg

This was some GOOD eats but not quite where I want it to be. Very moist and tender with a lot of flavor. I'm sure some folks that like to make their own rubs would have a great flavor also but I gotta say the Oakridge products really fit my cooking style.

I'll update as I experiment some more; critiques or suggestions welcome.

Thanks for checking in.

Fwismoker
10-15-2015, 06:38 PM
Thanks, I already have one or two, but never used them on chicken/turkey.

You should Dave, you'll like it.

BTW, nice looking plate!